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France faces a "Black Thursday"

Hundreds of thousands of people want to take to the streets in France today against the planned pension reform – probably President Emmanuel Macron's most important project.

Its mid-government wants to gradually raise the regular retirement age. In addition, the number of payment years required for a full pension should increase more quickly. Trade unions, the left and the nationalist right criticize the project as brutal and unjust. Strikes are threatening schools, air traffic controllers, the railways, refineries and hospitals.

Many TGVs to Germany are cancelled

Only one in ten regional trains should run and only every fourth TGV towards Germany. In Paris, only every fifth metro should be on the road and some lines not at all. 70 percent of primary school teachers in France want to stop working.

For the first time in more than ten years, all major trade union federations have called for a strike and registered 200 demonstrations across the country. A million people are expected to take to the streets. 10,000 police officers are on duty, around a third of them in Paris alone. In view of the dimensions, the media is talking about a "black Thursday".

Macron warns against attacks on politicians

Macron warns against shutting down the country or directing protests against MPs. Some union hardliners in CGT Energy, for example, want to cut off their power to prevent them from voting on the reform that will be tabled in parliament in early February.

Pension reform yes, but not like this

Six out of ten French are in favor of reforming the pension system in view of the threat of billions of dollars being lost – but not like the government, which wants to raise the starting age from 62 to 64 and introduce 43 years of contributions faster.

The government wants to raise the minimum pension to around 1,200 euros a month. People who started working particularly early should retire earlier. According to the government, the current pension system is approaching a funding gap.

With information from Stefanie Markert, ARD Studio Paris

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